If the discussion around water-coolers across the nation, or if the intensity of the discussion I have been having at meetings, discussions, or speeches I have given lately is any indication; then regardless of the decision from the Supreme Court tomorrow on the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare if you prefer, the nation will once again find itself in a vitriolic and unnecessary national argument.
If you want to find out about the background of the core issue, you can read my Health Care Mandate and the Commerce Clause Articles or you can read, Supreme Court to hear arguments on Obamacare: An enigma, based on a canard, wrapped in a conundrum and read how the decisions could come down.
Regardless of the decision, it is clear that we will again have a major upheaval over any decision. Passions are still running extremely high, and everyone seems to think this is the “be all and end all” of our future life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. And all of us are wrong!
The decision, regardless of how it comes down, will neither further harm our healthcare system, nor will it improve our healthcare system because we just do not have a system in the first place. What we have is clearly not a system. In my recent book, The History and Evolution of Healthcare in America: The untold backstory of where we’ve been, where we are, and why healthcare needs more reform!, available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon, and other fine bookstores, I discuss how we got to what we have today, how the practice of healthcare has evolved over the years – sometimes not for the benefit of patients – how we arrived at the point where what we believe and expect from healthcare is more mythical than reality, and some ideas on what we need to do to make available both choice and effective care for all. It is a result of our collective mythical vision of healthcare and inaccurate focus on the symptoms, not the problems of our healthcare system, in the current bill, that we find ourselves with a collective national angst that will in the end just yield political discord not fix the fundamental problems.
As I write this, I am listening to the debate on the Eric Holder contempt of congress issue, also pending determination tomorrow. Again we are in the middle of a huge national division and if one is cynical enough, we may come to the conclusion that this is all part of some diabolical plan. Since we have come to the place where instead of citizen politicians, we now have a professional political class whose job is to sell us free stuff and fulfill our wants, more than our needs, in exchange for our votes, and thereby significant power and riches; perhaps this is why we seem to have become a nation of thirds who argue everything, and find our leaders unable, or more likely unwilling, to fix the problems.
We are now composed of about 1/3 hard left progressive, 1/3 hard right conservative, and about 1/3 of the nation seem caught in the middle. You should wonder, what would politicians have to get reelected on if they stop giving us free stuff; and how, on earth, would they get us to give them money so they can afford campaigns, if we are not mostly extremely irritated over something? I am starting to think it is not our integrity and character that gets us engaged in critical issues anymore, but more likely it is just our passions.
There are some who declare that “Fast and Furious,” was a planned effort to create a national outrage in order to continue to clamp down on gun rights and perhaps severely restrict the second amendment. Some label this actual fact, and some call this nothing more than wild conspiracy theory. We all participate in this to some extent because we now habitually believe there can only be one extreme or another, not some logical blend in the middle. The problem for those of us who are not trying to find conspiracy at every corner, is that we are at a nexus of a number of events created by the actions of the current and prior administrations that all seem to have at least some conspiracy elements in the actions.
In addition to “Fast and Furious,” you have the the actions and events over immigration reform, and the President’s recent unilateral action to implement some form of a dream act. You have the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Arizona Law and the administrations action to shut down the rulings effect by suspending the cooperation between ICE and Arizona’s police departments, and if you look back at the Affordable Care Act debate in congress. You have on the record, statements from people like Barney Frank and Charlie Rangle, and some others, who stated that the health care bill would be the path to a National Single Payer Healthcare system. While you can look at each item discretely, and argue there is no Machiavellian agenda, when you look across the entire spectrum one needs to wonder if there is some agenda at work after all. And of course, the answer becomes; Yes - there is an agenda.
Of course there is an agenda, and hopefully it is because those pursuing it truly believe what they are doing is right for America and Americans. But being right for America and right for Americans may not always yield the same decision. If may seem right for Americans to have congress conflate the promise given by the Constitution to all for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness into an extrapolated promise of free heath care for everybody paid for by the government. Conversely, at the same time it may not be right economically for the viability of America, to assume what historically was a personal responsibility if the assumption of these costs would bankrupt the nation. Both decisions, in the narrow view, are good and reasonable decisions.
One path to a decision, has the benefit of giving something to political constituents that will help endear politicians to their electorate and gain reelection. The other, could change the last fifty years of building the expectation that it is the government, not the individual, that needs to be responsibility for their own heath. Regardless, this is just not a good situation for any of us, and it is partly why the bill that passed to become the law that is Obamacare is not really liked by either side or the middle.
While the 1964 extension of Social Security Act to include Medicare and Medicaid, was sold as a safety net, the reason for the passage was political gain, clearly on display if you listen to the Johnson tapes available today on-line. And, subsequent to passage, regardless of whether or not there really was a Machiavellian plan, we have continued to want, and/or allow, Congress to convert the “safety net” into a national entitlement. The end point is the same.
This is the reason that as we await the decision from the Supreme Court tomorrow, I do not think it will matter one iota in actually addressing the problems that we need to solve or developing a real system to make available both choice and effective healthcare for everyone.